Our Maui whale watching tour is truly an EXCEPTIONAL VACATION VALUE. You’ll enjoy a full two hour whale watch combined with snorkeling a beautiful coral reef.
MAUI WHALE WATCHING
Every year from December through March the North Pacific Humpback Whales migrate to the warm tropical waters of Hawaii. The coastal waters of Maui enjoy the largest concentration of these amazing animals by far. Whale Watching in Maui is commonly considered some of the best in the world. Whale Watching aboard our flagship “Pride of Maui” is even better.
For more than one reason, the Island of Maui is consistently rated the Best Island in The World (Conde Nast, 2013). Not only do the visitors and happy locals of Maui know this, but so do the Humpback Whales. Year after year, the Humpback Whales travel from cool Alaskan waters all the way to warm Hawaiian oceans for their annual winter breeding.
They are first spotted in Maui’s waters as early as October and their presence gradually increases as more pods and escorts finally arrive in Hawaii just in time for the holiday season. Maui’s Whale Season runs from mid-Fall to April. The peak season for watching whales is generally during the latter part of the season; January, February and March.
One of the most amazing things about the Humpback Whales on Maui is how easily they can be observed in their natural habitat. It is common to see them breach and play on the ocean’s surface, which is easily seen from the shoreline. For the premier whale watching experience, take a venture aboard a Pride of Maui vessel. Choose a Whale Watching Tour, a Snorkel & Whale Watching Tour or a romantic Sunset Cruise and Whale Watch adventure in Maui. Private Chartered Whale Watching Tours are also available by request.
Some common behavior displayed on a whale watching trip includes blowing and spy-hopping. They’ll also slap their tails, which is believed to be an act of communication and to demonstrate their individual strength. Spy-hopping is when the humpback whales come high out of the water to have a look around at the world above.
The female humpback whales with newborn calves are particularly vulnerable to the advances of the males during the Maui whale watching season. Sometimes during our whale watch we are mugged (an affectionate term) by the female and her calf as she uses our large yacht to hide under in an attempt to ditch the hopeful males. Other times, curiosity causes them to come closer to us. Being mugged on a whale watch in Maui by humpback whales is the ultimate whale watching experience where photo opportunities give way to cherished memories.
The original Endangered Species Conservation Act (ESCA) of 1969 has been amended and updated as The Endangered Species Act of 1973. This Act was the first of its kind to protect marine species in danger of extinction from common threats including poaching and hunting for sport. Before the Act, the Humpback Whales were maltreated and had no protection. The foreseeable future for the Humpback Whale species was at a great risk.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was passed by US Congress in 1972 and added extra levels of protection for endangered and threatened marine species, including Humpback Whales. This Act was introduced to protect species that were in danger of extinction and/or depletion due to human activities. The Act carefully ensures that threatened species do not become extinct, taking measures to “replenish the species.” The 1994 amended version of the Marine Mammals Protection Act added requirements for authorization and permits for scientific research, commercial fishing operations and preparing stock assessments of marine mammal species within US jurisdiction.
Working in conjunction with various marine related non-profits and education-based activity tour companies, the ESCA and the MMPA are responsible for protecting the growing numbers of the magical Humpback Whale species. Pride of Maui goes to great lengths to educate guests on the habits and beauty of the Humpback Whales as well as ensure that their practices are at the highest standards of safety for the ocean, marine life and guests. All tours are in line with the most recent Marine Conservation practices. Pride of Maui vessels are top of the line; boat Captains and staff are educated and expert trained.
Humpback whales migrate by the thousands from the Gulf of Alaska to and around the Hawaiian Islands and in particular the island of Maui, creating the perfect Maui whale watching experience. The island of Maui offers sheltered water where the females can more safely give birth and raise their young. Whales are mammals and the calves are fed with their mother’s milk. While suckling, it is believed they may be safer from predators in the sheltered Maui waters, as opposed to the open ocean or less protected seas.
Data compiled and sponsored by The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, National Marine Sanctuaries (Hawaiian Islands) and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Whale watching on Maui is as good as it gets, with the opportunity on any given trip to see numerous animals displaying a variety of interesting and memorable behaviors. Newborn calves, in addition to being adorable, are curious and often bring mom to the boat for a close encounter. As a protected animal, it is unlawful to approach these majestic animals at a distance less than 100 yards during a Maui whale watch and we adhere strictly to these regulations.
During the Maui whale watching tour, you might see a young calf swimming beside its mother. The newborn calves are about 14 feet long. If you see them, you will have definitely experienced some of the best whale watching Maui has to offer.
They are not small, even when newborn. The mother stays with her offspring for about one year, feeding it with up to 100 gallons of milk every day. There are two maturity levels discussed by researchers: sexual and physical maturity.
Females are said to reach sexual maturity at about 5 years while the males typically reach it at about 7 years. Physical maturity is reached after 10 years according to some researchers. Lifespan has been discussed but not agreed upon by most researchers. No one knows how long humpbacks live, but bowhead whales (a cousin) have been proven to live well beyond 200 years!
To make your whale watch cruise on Maui even better, we’re going to take you on an adventure where you will enjoy snorkeling at one of Maui’s beautiful coral reefs. Whale watching and snorkeling on the same cruise is the perfect pairing of the two most popular ocean adventures on Maui.
Whales start migrating to Hawaii in December and leave in April. Past year sightings have been as early as October, staying in Hawaiian oceans as late as June. The peak time to watch whales in Maui is in February during mating season, with March coming in second. (2012- Whale sightings confirmed early December)
Humpback Whales can range from 25ft to 45ft, as big as a school bus! They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, equivalent to 6 elephants*
Humpback Whales migrate 3,500 miles from Alaska to Hawaii every year. It takes them 4-8 weeks to complete this journey. Alaska is their feeding ground, and Hawaii is their breeding and birthing ground.
Humpbacks are still a huge mystery. There have been no recorded sightings of Humpback Whales mating or giving birth.
During the late season, as the whales are preparing to leave the Hawaiian waters, male bulls come to escort a female and her calves out of the Hawaiian channels. It is quite common to see “competitive pods” of males at this time. (Males fighting amongst each other to win over and impress the females.) Male Humpback Whale competitive pods can be very aggressive; head slapping, tail slapping, and breaching upon each other sometimes resulting in bloodshed.
The majority of Humpback Whales that migrate to Hawaii end up in the oceans around Maui.
Baby Humpback Whales are in utero for 11-12 months. When born, they can be between 12-14 feet in length, and weigh 1-1/2 tons. Surviving off their mothers 50% fat milk, the calves grow at least 1-inch and gain approximately 100 pounds per day.
It is quite common to see the newborn Humpback Whale frolic and play on the surface of the ocean. They will raise their pectoral fin up and down on the ocean’s surface. This is called pectoral slapping, a learned action that will continue with them through adulthood.
Humpback Whales are not monogamous! They are believed to be promiscuous breeders, and the males do not play a parental role in the lives of their calves. Genetic testing shows that over the breeding life of an individual female, calves will have different fathers.
Only male Humpback Whales sing! They sing in their breeding grounds to attract females, and ward off other males. The singers are lone animals, singing 50-60 feet below the oceans surface with their heads pointing down and their tails pointed up. Their songs can last from 20-40 minutes, and are liken to a complex classical music when broken down into specific phrases and units.
You can relax and take it easy on board the spacious Pride of Maui. Enjoy the view anywhere on the sprawling upper deck or downstairs in the large main cabin. With your comfort in mind, the Pride of Maui is an exquisite passenger vessel with more than enough room for you to comfortably enjoy your afternoon Maui snorkeling and whale watching.
You are in for very personalized service on the afternoon whale watching and snorkeling tour. This is because many visitors start their day early joining us on the Morning Molokini snorkel tour. As such, the afternoon adventure always cruises with fewer passengers.